Queenstown and the surrounding area was traditionally an important mahinga kai (resource area) for Ngāi Tahu. It was rich with birds, fish and pounamu (greenstone), an important and valuable stone used to make tools, weapons and to trade with northern tribes. For centuries, Southern based Ngāi Tahu people would seasonally visit the area to gather these resources and return home to their more permanent coastal settlements. There are many Ngāi Tahu stories and traditions in the area.
However, because there were no permanent Ngāi Tahu settlements, settlers moved in with ease and set up, ignorant to the existing Ngāi Tahu traditions. The Crown also failed to ensure Ngāi Tahu access to the promised mahinga kai sites, which meant Ngāi Tahu lost its connection to the area.
Today, Ngāi Tahu Tourism owns businesses in the area, which has helped Ngāi Tahu reconnect to the Queenstown area and be a significant contributor to the local community.
Discover the range of iconic tourism businesses which we are proud to own.